The Days We Stay Up

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I wake up to the sound of alarms at seven sharp. My long day starts with jolts, bellows and wide yawns. Sometimes I turn and smash the alarm on the floor, seize my blankets tighter and ask the gods of morning glory to wake me up in the next 5 minutes. Sometimes I beseech them to keep me in soft form, because beyond that only the tenth phone call will wake my ass up; fumble with dirty pants, creased shirt plus unpolished shoes. At times I forget to brush my darn teeth or even comb my hair.

Arriving at the work place while looking like I just woke up from deep gutters downtown, I take my usual seat near the window. I probably look like a confused drunk, eyes full of sleep and slurred speech. On the other side of the window women with humongous asses, pass by. They are the reason that I made the seat near the window my home. I love it huge, something to hold onto in the night. A classic scenery, huh.

My job consists of carrying cameras all day. I am used to the dark gadgets hanging from my neck or shoulder. The clicks fill my brain till I can’t hear them anymore. The flashes have numbed me and they are not scary anymore. I am used to the change of faces during the clicks. People want to look good in pictures. Even a woman in labour can take a leave from the pains; pose for a photo with excitement and happiness all over her face. Smiles, then clicks.

My work extends to many other things. I form the technical team that moves around with the PA system machines, connecting the coiled wires to bring life into events. Sometimes the machines don’t work. They can decide to take us on a free, ugly ride. And we stand there for hours trying to figure out which wire goes where, or what next. Things ain’t rosy. At other times, we get stuck in the muddy roads with our old, tortoise surf. Sometimes it’s not being stuck, it is the equipment rolling off the vehicle into the woods. And we collect our torches to search them amongst lions, cheetahs, snakes, buffaloes and other animals in those wild jungles.

Times come when we get stranded in interior areas. We try to seek help, but the only people around are the Samburu who at their best are enjoying the earthen beds in the centre of their livestock. These people have no idea what life on the other side looks like. So its bullshit seeking help from them.

One morning you’ll wake up and run after the governor. A moment comes when he poses for a photo with various representatives and officials. As he waits patiently for you to pitch that shot, you pull the cam close and focus well, only to discover that it has zero charge so the shutter can’t open. You go on and pretend that you hit it well. Or you discover that you forgot the SD card so you have no memory.

While pretence might work at this moment, later on some CEO or CEC will show up wanting to have photos from the event. Only then that you realize that your ass is on the line.

I do a lot of writing in a day. I carry with me a cam and a notebook. There is always a story to be written. You need to get one for the newspaper, one for newsletter, one for blogs and one for Facebook. Apart from that, there are reports to be written. Analysis of some blueprints awaits you at the table, glaring at you like you owe them a debt. Stories need to be edited, a process that can take you a whole day.

While you think that is all, you have to keep your eyes on social media and ensure nothing negative about the governor grows roots. At the same time, your eyes are running through newspapers tracing stories about Laikipia county.

Few are the days that I get home while the sun is up. I am getting accustomed to darkness. My face has seen people crush in those road carnages and lose lives. My eyes have handled fellows whose blood gushed into my mouth, and have drank some during the process. Windscreens have shuterred upon my faces, and glass found their ways to my boots.

On some occasions, I have spent half of my nights waiting for traffic police to bail me out. Gun barrels have been pointed to my face, hands raised and cuffs behind my back. Rough arms have pinned me down on my back while others have suspended me up in the air.

One day someone asked me what is that I exactly do. I promised to tell her what my crazy day looks like. It is almost two months down the line, and I am honouring the deal I made then.

Public relations is wide- advertising, branding, promotion, event organizing, conflict management, press and media management, managing the publics and all that. It is my field. That is the smell of my career

-Photo credit: Indiatoday

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About Mzangila

Man of all seasons

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  1. That is how my career smells…. Nice piece

  2. This article is awesome,

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